Remember the facial hair? It was jarring, seeing the usually bald and goateed Walter White sporting a bushy beard and full head of hair at a New England diner in the opening scene of Breaking Bad’s fifth and final season. We knew it was a flash-forward, only because he told his waitress it was his 52 birthday. But that was the last we saw of Walt’s future. The question now, as the final eight episodes of one of the greatest television shows of all time kick off this Sunday: How the hell did the man known as Heisenberg get there?
1. He murdered Hank and is hiding out In the final scene of the mid-season finale, Walt’s DEA brother-in-law finally—finally—discovered the chemistry teacher–turned–meth dealer’s secret (while on the toilet, no less). Maybe he confronted Walt and threatened to turn him in, and Walt responded by putting a knife in Hank’s belly. Hey, he’s killed for lot less.
2. He’s in the witness protection program Hank is family, after all, so maybe he agreed to protect Walt if he was willing to rat out the Czech meth syndicate who helped expand his drug empire. It would help explain the tragic, almost glued-on look of that beard. And it would help explain why we saw Walt buying some heavy artillery in the parking lot of that diner: The Czechs are after him.
3. The cancer’s back, and Walt wanted to live a little before he died New England is pretty country, with the leaves changing in the fall and what not. There are worse places to die than out there. Like Albuquerque.
4. Walt is the new owner of Hair Club for Men He had to do something with all of that cash Skylar was hiding in a storage locker. “Not only am I the president, I’m also a psychopathic, egomaniacal, homicidal member.”
5. The scene of a bearded Walt in the diner was actually a flash-sideways, and he was dead, in purgatory, waiting for his friends back on the island in the present to find a magical cave of light that will allow them to set the world right so they can all move on to heaven. Or something. Wait, wrong show?
Aug 11 at 9, AMC